In last Lesson we discussed the marketing microenvironment factors or
forces. Today we will continue the topic of Marketing environment and
will discuss the Macro environmental factors in detail so our today’s
B. MARKETING MACRO ENVIRONMENT
The Company’s Macro environment
The company and all
of the other actors operate in a larger macro environment of forces that
shape opportunities and pose threats to the company. There are six major
forces (outlined below) in the company’s macro environment. There are
six major forces (outlined below) in the company’s macro environment.
a. Demographic Environment
Demography is the study of human populations in terms of
size, density, location, age, sex, race, occupation, and other
statistics. It is of major interest to marketers because it involves
people and people make up markets. Demographic trends are constantly
changing. Some more interesting ones are.
1). The world’s population (though not all countries) rate is growing at
an explosive rate that will soon exceed food supply and ability to
adequately service the population. The greatest danger is in the poorest
countries where poverty contributes to the difficulties. Emerging
markets such as China are receiving increased attention from global
2). The most important trend is the changing age structure of the
population. The population is aging because of a slowdown in the birth
rate (in this country) and life expectancy is increasing. The baby
boomers following World War II have produced a huge “bulge” in our
population’s age distribution. The new prime market is the middle age
group (in the future it will be the senior citizen group). There are
many subdivisions of this group.
a). Generation X--this group lies in the shadow of the boomers and lack
obvious distinguishing characteristics. They are a very cynical group
because of all the difficulties that have surrounded and impacted their
b). Echo boomers (baby boomlets) are the large growing kid and
teen market. This group is used to affluence on the part of their
parents (as different from the Gen Xers). One distinguishing
characteristic is their utter fluency and comfort with computer,
digital, and Internet technology (sometimes called Net-Gens).
c). Generational marketing is possible, however, caution must be used to
avoid generational alienation. Many in the modern family now
“telecommute”--work at home or in a remote office and conduct their
business using fax, cell phones, modem, or the Internet In general, the
population is becoming better educated. The work force is be-coming more
white-collar. Products such as books and education services appeal to
groups following this trend. Technical skills (such as in computers)
will be a must in the future. The final demographic trend is the
increasing ethnic and racial diversity of the population. Diversity is a
force that must be recognized in the next decade. However, companies
must recognize that diversity goes beyond ethnic heritage. One the
important markets of the future are that disabled people (a market
larger any of our ethnic minority groups).
b. Economic Environment
The economic environment includes those factors that affect
consumer purchasing power and spending patterns. Major economic trends
in the United States include:
1). Personal consumption (along with personal debt) has gone up (1980s)
and the early 1990s brought recession that has caused adjustments both
personally and corporately in this country. Today, consumers are more
2). Value marketing (trying to offer the consumer
greater value for their dollar) is a very serious strategy in the 1990s.
Real income is on the rise again but is being carefully guarded by a
3). Income distribution is still very skewed in the U.
S. and all classes have not shared in prosperity. In addition, spending
patterns show that food, housing, and transportation still account for
the majority of consumer dollars. It is also of note that distribution
of income has created a “two-tiered market” where there are those that
are affluent and less affluent. Marketers must carefully monitor
economic changes so they will be able to prosper with the trend, not
suffer from it.
c. Natural Environment
The natural environment involves natural resources that are
needed as inputs by marketers or that are affected by marketing
activities. During the past two decades environmental concerns have
steadily grown. Some trend analysts labeled the specific areas of
1). Shortages of raw materials.
Staples such as air,
water, and wood products have been seriously damaged and non-renewable
such as oil, coal, and various minerals have been seriously depleted
during industrial expansion.
2). Increased pollution
is a worldwide problem.
Industrial damage to the environment is very serious. Far-sighted
companies are becoming “environmentally friendly” and are producing
environmentally safe and recyclable or biodegradable goods. The public
response to these companies is encouraging. However, lack of adequate
funding, especially in third world countries, is a major barrier.
3). Government intervention
in natural resource
management has caused environmental concerns to be more practical and
necessary in business and industry. Leadership, not punishment, seems to
be the best policy for long-term results. Instead of opposing
regulation, marketers should help develop solutions to the material and
energy problems facing the world.
4). Environmentally sustainable strategies.
so-called green movement has encouraged or even demanded that firms
produce strategies that are not only environmentally friendly but are
also environmentally proactive. Firms are beginning to recognize the
link between a healthy economy and a healthy environment.
d. Technological Environment
The technological environment includes forces that create
new technologies, creating new product and market opportunities.
1). Technology is perhaps the most dramatic force shaping our destiny.
2). New technologies create new markets and opportunities.
3). The following trends are worth watching:
a). Faster pace of technological change. Products are being
technologically outdated at a rapid pace.
b). There seems to be almost unlimited opportunities being developed
daily. Consider the expanding fields of health care, the space shuttle,
robotics, and biogenetic industries.
c). The challenge is not only technical but also commercial--to make
practical, affordable versions of products.
d). Increased regulation. Marketers should be aware of the regulations
concerning product safety, individual privacy, and other areas that
affect technological changes. They must also be alert to any possible
negative aspects of an innovation that might harm users or arouse
e. Political Environment
The political environment includes laws, government
agencies, and pressure groups that influence and limit various
organizations and individuals in a given society. Various forms of
legislation regulate business.
1). Governments develop public policy to guide
commerce--sets of laws and regulations limiting business for the good of
society as a whole.
2). Almost every marketing activity is subject to a wide range of laws
and regulations. Some trends in the political environment include:
1). Increasing legislation to:
a). Protect companies from each other.
b). Protecting consumers from unfair business
c). Protecting interests of society against
unrestrained business behavior.
2). Changing government agency enforcement. New laws and their
enforcement will continue or increase.
3). Increased emphasis on ethics and socially responsible actions.
Socially responsible firms actively seek out ways to protect the
long-run interests of their consumers and the environment.
a). Enlightened companies encourage their managers to look beyond
regulation and “do the right thing.”
b). Recent scandals have increased concern about ethics and social
c). The boom in e-commerce and Internet marketing has created a new set
of social and ethical issues. Concerns are Privacy, Security, Access by
vulnerable or unauthorized groups.
f. Cultural Environment
The cultural environment is made up of institutions and
other forces that affect society’s basic values, perceptions,
preferences, and behaviors. Certain cultural characteristics can affect
marketing decision-making. Among the most dynamic cultural
1). Persistence of cultural values. People’s core beliefs and values
have a high degree of persistence. Core beliefs and
values are passed on from parents to children and are reinforced by
schools, churches, business, and government. Secondary
beliefs and values are more open to change.
2). Shifts in secondary cultural values. Since secondary cultural
values and beliefs are open to change, marketers want to spot them and
be able to capitalize on the change potential. Society’s major cultural
views are expressed in:
a). People’s views of themselves. People vary in their
emphasis on serving themselves versus serving others. In the 1980s,
personal ambition and materialism increased dramatically, with
significant implications for marketing. The leisure industry was a chief
b). People’s views of others. Observers have noted a
shift from a “me-society” to a “we-society.” Consumers are spending more
on products and services that will improve their lives rather than their
c). People’s views of organizations. People are willing
to work for large organizations but expect them to become increasingly
socially responsible. Many companies are linking themselves to
worthwhile causes. Honesty in appeals is a must.
d). People’s views of society. This orientation
influences consumption patterns. “Buy American” versus buying abroad is
an issue that will continue into the next decade.
e). People’s view of nature. There is a growing trend
toward people’s feeling of mastery over nature through technology and
the belief that nature is bountiful. However, nature is finite. Love of
nature and sports associated with nature are expected to be significant
trends in the next several years.
f). People’s views of the universe. Studies of the
origin of man, religion, and thought-provoking ad campaigns are on the
rise. Currently, Americans are on a spiritual journey. This will
probably take the form of “spiritual individualism.”